Evanston, Ill. (November 20, 2006) – As the mercury plummets and snow begins to fall, older adults may be asking themselves: “What can I do to make the winter weather comfortable and safe?” Mather LifeWays, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to creating ways to age well, has devised a checklist that older adults and their families can use to make sure they are ready for Jack Frost.
“We think that focusing on wellness and staying healthy should be a priority for everyone every day of the year,” said Reed Engel, director of wellness strategies for the Evanston-based organization. “Mather LifeWays wants older adults to know that with a little preparation, they can safely enjoy the winter and the holidays.”
Mather LifeWays’ Winter Tips for Older Adults are:
- Keep up with exercise programs – Dancing, bowling, yoga and indoor tennis are just a few of the activities that older adults can continue to partake in, even as temperatures hit seasonal lows. Though exercising outdoors may be more challenging, fit older adults can cross country ski, an activity that is among the highest calorie-burning exercises.
- Dress appropriately – Snow and ice can make sidewalks treacherous for everyone. Make sure to wear waterproof shoes with wide soles that provide sufficient traction. Canes should be fitted with new rubber guards. Dressing in layers can help older adults stay comfortable indoors and out. Finally, if going outside, wear a hat, gloves and scarf to minimize exposure to the elements.
- Fill your social calendar – The dark winter months, as well as stress from the holiday season, can cause cabin fever. Seeking out family, friends and colleagues, volunteering and participating in holiday activities, such as parties and caroling, can help keep the winter blues at bay. Talk to a professional if the feelings last longer than a few weeks.
- Plan ahead – Winter storms can limit access to many services. Older adults should have one to two months of prescription medications on hand in the event that they cannot get to a pharmacy. Keep a contact list for emergency and community services in your area that can assist with snow removal and transportation. Mather LifeWays Info Plus is such a service that can connect older adults with the information they need at no cost. Chicago-area residents can call the Info Plus line at 1-888-600-2560.
- Eat, drink, and stay merry – Culinary treats make the holiday season fun. Keeping with the dietary guidelines provided by your doctor can help make this time of year fun and safe. Winter vegetables like squash and turnips make a tasty and healthy addition to most diets. Be mindful of alcohol intake, as it can impair judgment and mobility.
- Ask for help – Don’t be afraid to call on neighbors and friends for help. Ask a neighborhood teen to shovel the walk. Passers-by can help cross icy patches. Grocery delivery services can make particularly wintry days easier for everyone.
About Mather LifeWays
Based in Evanston, Illinois, Mather LifeWays enhances the lives of older adults by creating Ways to Age Well.SM Founded in 1941 by entrepreneur and humanitarian Alonzo Mather, Mather LifeWays is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing a continuum of living and care; making neighborhoods better places for older adults to live, work, learn, contribute, and play; and identifying, implementing, and sharing best practices for wellness, workforce issues, memory care support, and empowering caregivers. To learn more about our senior residences, community initiatives, and Institute on Aging, please call (847) 492-7500 or find your Way to www.matherlifeways.com.
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